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South Texas Poison Center

STPC in the News

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16-year-old suffers heart attack, dies after snorting drug: WOAI interviewed Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center was interviewed regarding the death of one young man in Fredericksburg and the hospitalization of a second teenager after they snorted a crystal powder form of a mail-order drug. Dr. Fernández says that it's too easy to find synthetic or manufactured drugs like this online; it's not illegal and teens don't always exercise good judgement. He reminds the public that the poison center is always there to help, the call is free and is anonymous. Click here for complete story. (4-24-13)

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K2 growing problem in San Antonio: According to the San Antonio Police Department, use of K2 or Spice (synthetic cannabinoids), often disguised as incense, tobacco, bath salts, or potpourri, are a growing problem around San Antonio. Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, says, "It's not 'marijuana', it's chemicals. Call them synthetic 'cannabinoids', they attach to the same parts of the brain (as marijuana), but people looking for euphoria aren't the ones being called in with irregular heart rates, halucinations or seizures." Click here for complete story.    (4-23-13)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, interviewed by New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung for National Poison Prevention Week: According to Dr. Fernandez, the South Texas Poison Center receives at least 200 calls a day for anything you could think of regarding 'poisonings', from relatively minor to extremely serious. The trained professionals in the poison control center field all types of calls, 24 hours a day. Click here for complete story.    (4-23-13)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, in KSAT-12 story on synthetic marijuana: There is a growing concern among San Antonio law enforcement and physicians about the use of synthetic marijuana, also known as 'spice'. "WeÕve seen people have seizures and go completely comatose after smoking some of this stuff," said Dr. Miguel Fernández. Click here for complete story.    (4-2-13)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, interviewed on WOAI Radio regarding Texas poison centers closures: Slashed budgets in both the state and federal governments are targeting poison centers across Texas. In order to supplement, there has been talk of closing two of the six within the state. "It would have a tremendous impact on the quality of education in South Texas," Dr. Fernández said. "It's not just the service over the phone it's also the service of educating future health care practitioners." Click here to read article or listen to interview.    (4-2-13)

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Spring Breakers treated for seizures: State health officials were looking into reports Tuesday of what could be an unusual number of people having drug-related seizures and hospitalizations during Spring Break last week, including four people who had to be put on ventilation. South Texas Poison Control Center Director Miguel Fernández, MD, confirmed that hospitals reported more than 100 people transported for treatment. Dr. Fernández, MD, said local toxicology tests showed the substance contained alcohol and cocaine, but more advanced tests are needed to show other drugs. Even so, bath salts and Ecstasy may not show up on a drug test, he added. View Dr. Fernández's interview on KENS5 | Read MySA.com article | WOAI Radio interview, article    (3-20-13)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, quoted in Texas Tribune article: The agency that oversees the state's 911 system and our poison control centers has too much money — and not enough. The Commission on State Emergency Communications provides poison control services for the entire state and 911 services for primarily rural areas; funds are provided by fees paid by every Texas cell phone owner and wireless service user. Click here to read the article in the Texas Tribune.    (2-26-13)

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photo Carmen Jiménez, South Texas Poison Center Educator, passed away Monday, December 31, 2012 after a difficult battle with cancer. Services for Carmen were held on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in San Antonio. Carmen's years of superior knowledge and invaluable experience in the implementation of education programs for school age children, adults and the elderly were invaluable. Her organizational skills and bilingual communication abilities enabled her to work with a wide variety of audiences, and she will be missed not only here at the Health Science Center but also in the communities she served in San Antonio and South Texas. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.    (2-26-13)

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South Texas Poison Center faculty will present at the 2012 North American College of Clinical Toxicology Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 1-6, 2012: This annual conference provides an opportunity for physicians, pharmacists, nurses and scientists from around the world to participate in the sharing of information on a wide variety of toxicological issues. (C. Lizette Villarreal, MA; Miguel C. Fernández, MD; Mathias B. Forrester, BS. Pesticides and Suicides: Demographic Disparities.) (7-25-12)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center interviewed by Brownsville Herald regarding synthetic marijuana: Concerned with the recent increase in synthetic marijuana use, Brownsville police are anticipating an increase in arrests for possession. According to Dr. Fernández, "It's the dose that makes the poison. The more you get the worse it is." STPC data about the drug – which is sometimes called synthetic marijuana, K2 or Spice – only goes back to 2010, the first year calls about exposure to the drug were tallied. Since then, the center has received just seven calls from Cameron County, according Fernández, who has more than 20 years working in emergency rooms. Read Brownsville Herald article | Read Valley Star article (6-19-12)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center discusses potential hazards of household chemicals: After a recent incident in which children at a Gonzales daycare facility were mistakenly given diluted bleach to drink, South Texas Poison Center Director Miguel Fernández, MD, discussed facts about the hazards of bleach and other household chemicals, and how they are stored.
Read HSC News article | HSC Press Release (2-28-12)

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Mercury poisonings linked to cosmetic cream from Mexico: The South Texas Poison Center is warning against use of a cosmetic cream from Mexico that is linked to an outbreak of inorganic mercury exposures and poisonings, mostly in towns along the Texas-Mexico border. Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, was interviewed on local national affiliates KENS-5 and KSAT-12 to discuss poisoning cases resulting from use of the cosmetic cream. Read HSC News article | View KENS-5 interview (9-6-11)

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Interviewed on KSAT-12 by Brian Mylar, Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, warns of new form of substance abuse: People are using bath salts to get high — this new form of getting high hasn't reached San Antonio yet, but is probably on the way. Some bath salts contain Mephedrone which when ingested nasally or orally causes an elevated mood similar to the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine. View KSAT-12 News story, video More about Dr. Fernández | (12-21-10)

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Congratulations to Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, on his appointment to the National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors: The National Toxicology Program Board of Scientific Counselors was established in 1978 by the Department of Health and Human Services as a cooperative effort to monitor, control, and coordinate toxicology testing and to provide information about potentially toxic chemicals to the public and health, regulatory, medical and research agencies. Appointed by Kathleen Sebelius, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Fernández's term on the board will run through June 2013.
Read HSC News story | National Toxicology Program | More about Dr. Fernández (12-8-10; updated 1-13-11)

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photo December 2010 – Congratulations to our Surgery faculty chosen as San Antonio's 'Best Doctors' published in the January 2011 issue of San Antonio Magazine:
Emergency Medicine: Miguel Fernández, MD. (12-7-10)

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South Texas Poison Center recognized by the American Association of Poison Control Centers Fatality Review Team: Our team was recognized at the 2010 North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology Meeting held in Denver, Colorado, for being the first poison center in the country to complete all of their fatality case abstracts. The South Texas Poison Center fatality abstract review team includes Douglas Cobb, RPh; Miguel C. Fernandez, MD; George Layton, MD; Cynthia Abbott-Teter, PharmD; and C. Lizette Villarreal, MA. More about the American Association of Poison Control Centers (10-27-10)

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South Texas Poison Center faculty and staff will present at the 2010 North American College of Clinical Toxicology Conference in Denver, Colorado from October 6-12, 2010: This annual conference provides an opportunity for physicians, pharmacists, nurses and scientists from around the world to participate in the sharing of information on a wide variety of toxicological issues. Presentations include:

C. Lizette Villarreal, MA; Virginia Barrera-Garcia, MS; Carmen Jimenez. Coalition Building Aimed to Increase Poison Center Awareness Among Elementary School Nurses.
Mathias Forrester, BS; C. Lizette Villarreal, MA. Changes in Antiviral Medications for Influenza Reported to Poison Centers Associated with Treatment Guidelines.
Mathias Forrester, BS; C. Lizette Villarreal, MA. Annual Trends in Zolpidem Exposures Reported to Poison Centers.
Penny Williams, RN; Miguel C. Fernandez, MD. Adverse Drug Reactions In Pediatric Patients Receiving A Single Dose Of Lisdexamfetamine.
Darelle Hinson, RN; Aasya S Nasar, PharmD; Leslie DeHart, RN. Lead Chelation Therapy in a Patient on Dialysis. (10-6-10)

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photo KENS-5 – Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, interviewed by KENS-5 regarding teen cough medicine abuse: A growing number of young people are chugging down cough medicine for a quick high. A recently published report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found the inappropriate use of dextromethorphan which is found in over 100 over-the-counter-medicines and is linked to nearly 8,000 emergency room visits in 2008, up more than 70% from 2004. KENS-5 story, video | More about Dr. Fernandez (9-7-10)

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photo DEA National Take Back Initiative Day: On September 25, 2010, DEA will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation's medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10 am-2 pm. The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.
Click here for more information (9-1-10)

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photo KENS-5 – Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, discusses listeria contamination of deli meats, sold locally in pre-packaged sandwiches at Walmart stores. 380,000 pounds of meat that may be contaminated with bacteria called listeria have been recalled. Listeria is a common, naturally-occurring bug that can spread in food that has been mishandled. "The listeria bacterium is very crafty about figuring out how to escape our own immune system," explained Dr. Fernández. Victims "could develop high fever, neck pain and stiffness. They could get meningitis. It can be fatal." KENS-5 story, video | More about Dr. Fernández (8-25-10)

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photo MedDropSA Collection Event – Saturday, September 11, 2010 at the Alamodome: Need to get rid of some old medications or other hazardous household waste? SAWS, SAPD and San Antonio Solid Waste Management will be holding a disposal event on the 11th of September.
Click here to view flyer | Click here to visit the MedDropSA website (8-24-10)

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Photo 09-10-1957 to 08-12-2010 — Mary Bogardus, Administrative Assistant at the South Texas Poison Center in the Department of Surgery, passed away Thursday, August 12, 2010 after a difficult battle with cancer. The services for Mary will be held on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at Southwest Funeral Home 3946 South Zarzamora St. San Antonio, Texas 78225. Visitation will be open from 5-9 pm with a service at 7 pm. Please keep her daughter Brandy and grandson Marcus in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with the loss of their beloved mother and grandmother.
UTHSCSA announcement (8-17-10)

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photo San Antonio Express-News interviews Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center — Concern about synthetic marijuana is very real: Synthetic marijuana — manufactured and distributed nationwide under various brand names — is intended to be used as incense or potpourri. However, many people are smoking it, looking for a high similar to marijuana that's available over the counter and won't show up on drug tests. Nationwide, there have been more than 750 calls to poison centers about adverse reactions to smoking synthetic marijuana. Complaints range from headaches, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat to seizures or blackouts. Read Express-News story (8-17-10)

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photo KENS-5 – Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, talks about the dangers of K-2: Made from herbs and spices, K-2 mimics marijuana and is completely legal. However, South Texas emergency rooms and medical care providers are now seeing the dangerous side effects of K-2. Dr. Fernández recently treated a man in his 30s who was experiencing seizures and other symptoms as a result of smoking K-2. KENS-5 story, video (8-13-10)

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Congratulations to Lauren Gonzalez of Corpus Christi, who took 3rd Place for the Older Division in the National Poison Prevention Week Poster Contest!
The National Poison Prevention Week Council has announced the winners of its annual poster contest. The Council's 3rd Place for the Older Division's winning poster was created by Lauren Gonzalez of Corpus Christi, Texas. Lauren's poster creatively illustrates the message to prevent poisonings around the home. The National Poison Prevention Week Council, in conjunction with the American Association of Poison Control Centers, sponsors the poster contest each year as part of a year-round effort to educate communities about ways to prevent accidental poisonings in the home. Lauren's poster was selected from thousands of entries that were submitted to the 61 poison centers across the country. The contest is open to two groups, children ages 8 and under and children ages 9-13. (8-6-10)

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photo Congratulations to our 2010 South Texas Poison Center Poison Prevention Week Poster Contest winners! 1st Prize – 22" Flat Panel LCD HDTV – winner is Lauren Gonzalez from Dawson Elementary.
2nd Prize – iPod-Nano – winner is Aubrey Arismendez from Dawson Elementary.
3rd Prize – Blu-Ray DVD Player – winner is Julissa N. Reyes from Sabinal Elementary.
4th Prize – iPod-Shuffle – winner is Erica Nicole Dietrich from John H. Shary Elementary.
Click here to see all the winning posters. (6-29-10)

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photo McDonald's pulls 12 million USA-made cadmium-tainted 'Shrek' glasses: Miguel Fernández, MD, director of the South Texas Poison Center, discussed the potential danger of cadmium poisoning during an interview with WOAI-4 News. This recall dramatically expands contamination concerns about the toxic metal beyond imported children's jewelry. Dr. Fernández explained that the potential danger of the contaminated glasses would be long-term exposure to low levels of cadmium, which could leach from the paint onto a child's hand, then enter the body if the child puts that unwashed hand to his or her mouth. More about Dr. Fernández | WOAI-4 Story (6-7-10)

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photo Button batteries a powerful health risk for young children: Miguel Fernández, MD, director of the South Texas Poison Center, spoke with KENS5 health reporter Wendy Rigby about the growing threat posed by these small batteries to small children. Found in items ranging from digital thermometers to children's books to musical greeting cards, the batteries seem harmless. But, says Dr. Fernández, "Anything really small can get into the mouth of a child pretty easily. They're small. They're round. They're shiny, so kids like them." Small enough to lodge in the throat or airway of a small child, they can cause choking. Read KENS5 story, view video | More about Dr. Fernández (6-2-10)

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photo Hidden dangers of energy drinks — too much of a good thing:   Over-consumption of 'energy drinks' can lead to chest pain, rapid heartbeat, nausea, vomiting and agitation, and a trip to the emergency room. Miguel Fernández, MD, director of the South Texas Poison Center, spoke with WOAI News about the effects of the extremely high amounts of caffeine in some of the energy drinks. More about Dr. Fernández | View WOAI video, read story (5-13-10)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, promoted:The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Department of Surgery has announced the promotion effective September 1, 2010 of Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center, to Professor of Surgery. (4-19-10)

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Congratulations to Miguel Fernández, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of the South Texas Poison Center, whose abstract, 'The Comparative Clinical Effects of Cocaine and Amphetamines', has been accepted for presentation at the May 2010 XXX International Congress of the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT), in Bordeaux, France. The abstract will be published in the peer-reviewed journal entitled Clinical Toxicology. | More about Dr. Fernández | South Texas Poison Center (3-3-10)

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Congratulations to Miguel Fernández, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Director of the South Texas Poison Center, and Lizette Villarreal, MA, Assistant Director, South Texas Poison Center, whose abstracts, 'Health Care Disparities in Delivering Poison Center Services to Spanish Speakers in Texas' and 'Poison Center Data: Complete or Completely Inaccurate? How to Improve Accuracy in Data Recording' have been selected for presentation at the May 2010 XXX International Congress of the European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT), in Bordeaux, France. The abstracts will also be published in the peer-reviewed journal entitled Clinical Toxicology. | More about Dr. Fernández | More about Ms. Villarreal | South Texas Poison Center (3-3-10)

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Congratulations to George M. Layton, MD, South Texas Poison Center Specialist in Poison Information, whose abstract, 'Increasing Poison Center Case Reports of Male Enhancement Supplements in Texas' (Fernandez MC, Forrester MB) has been accepted by the Special Interest Group on Herbs & Dietary Supplements for presentation at the 2009 North American College of Clinical Toxicology Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX. | South Texas Poison Center (6-16-09)

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Congratulations to presenters at 2009 North American College of Clinical Toxicology: This year in an effort to increase research done here by faculty and staff at the South Texas Poison Center, our center submitted 7 abstracts to the North American College of Clinical Toxicology which will be held here in San Antonio in September. This annual conference provides an opportunity for physicians, pharmacists, nurses and scientists from around the world to participate in the sharing of information on a wide variety of toxicological issues.

Hundreds of abstracts are submitted from researchers and poison centers around the world. Six out of the seven abstracts we submitted were accepted for presentation at this year’s annual meeting. Lizette Villarreal, Assistant Director of the South Texas Poison Center, would like to congratulate our faculty and staff for their hard work. All abstracts will now be written up for submission to a journal publication.

  • Cynthia L. Teter, PharmD; C. Lizette Villarreal, MA. 'The Impact of HIPAA on the Delivery of Poison Center Services'
  • Ricardo Hernandez, MD; C. Lizette Villarreal, MA; Miguel C. Fernández, MD. 'Poison Center Data Identifies Increase in Energy Drink Consumption and Teens as Highest At-Risk Group'
  • Miguel C. Fernández, MD; Alfredo González, RN. 'Ethiopian Mountain Viper Envenomation In South Texas'
  • Darelle E. Hinson, RN; C. Lizette Villarreal, MA; Miguel C. Fernández, MD; Leslie M. DeHart, RN. 'The Impact of Nuisance Callers on Poison Center Services and Staff Efficacy'
  • George M. Layton, MD; Miguel C. Fernández, MD; Mathias B. Forrester, BS. 'Increasing Poison Center Case Reports of Male Enhancement Supplements in Texas'
  • Leslie M. DeHart, RN; Darelle E. Hinson, RN. 'Automation and the Hazard of Human Error Results in Unexpected Toxicity during Routine Blood Donation'
(5-19-09)

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Photo Miguel Fernández, MD, Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center, interviewed by KWEX-TV for A Su Salud on the subject of Poisons in the home: We all have many common items in our homes that we don't think of as poisons. Dr. Fernández discussed how families can identify some of these common household poisons (cosmetics, charcoal, soaps, plants, etc.) and how to protect their children from ingesting these items. South Texas Poison Center website | More about Dr. Fernández (4-23-09)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center, spoke on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Poison Control Program (Health Services Administration) at the 2009 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Pharmacists Association in San Antonio. The topic of Dr. Fernández's was 'Improving Patient Safety: Success Stories of the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative and the Poison Centers Role in Patient Safety.' (4-14-09)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center, interviewed about Texas Legislature House Bill 23, regarding meth lab disclosure: This bill would add a meth lab disclosure requirement to leases. "We have a saying in toxicology that there is nothing that is not a poison," Dr. Fernández said. "It's the dose that makes the poison. And this really is pertinent to this scenario." HB 23 adds to current law regarding disclosures to homebuyers, with a further requirement for landlords to inform renters before a lease is signed that the property had been used as a methamphetamine lab. Unlike asbestos or lead contamination in a home, the effects of methamphetamine contamination may vary widely. Read story in Express-News | More about Dr. Fernández (4-3-09)

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Congratulations to South Texas Poison Center Assistant Director Lizette Villarreal, and Director, Miguel Fernández, MD, on their successful submission for presentation of two abstracts: 'Addressing health care disparities in delivering poison center services to Spanish speakers in Texas,' has been accepted for poster presentation to the 3rd Annual Health Disparities Conference in New Orleans, LA, March 2009. Their abstract 'Regional poison center hourly call-taker staffing and call volume' has been accepted for poster presentation at the 29th International Congress of the European Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 2009. (3-12-09)

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PoisonHelp 1-800-222-1222 March 16-22 is National Poison Prevention Week: Dr. Miguel Fernández, MD, toxicologist and director of the South Texas Poison Center, reminds everyone of the services available 24/7 to the citizens of San Antonio, Bexar County and the South Texas region. Read HSC press release (3-18-08)

 

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Asst Prof of Surgery and Director of the South Texas Poison Center, was interviewed on KENS-5's Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007, Great Day SA to discuss one of the hottest topics this holiday season - lead in kids' toys. View KENS-5 video. (12-19-07)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Asst Prof of Surgery and Director of the South Texas Poison Center, was interviewed on KENS-5's Great Day SA to discuss one of the hottest topics this holiday season - lead in kids' toys. (12-12-07)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, was interviewed on KENS-5 San Antonio's evening news regarding the CDC's recent warnings about elemental mercury in some antiques. Read San Antonio Express-News story. | Watch KENS-5 video. | CDC: Elemental Mercury Releases ... (7-9-07)

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Miguel Fernández, MD, Director, South Texas Poison Center, served as a panel moderator and led a workshop entitled "Health Professions Education: Future Direction of Medical Curriculum Development," for the 11th Annual Conference of the National Hispanic Medical Association in March 2007. Other participants and presenters included Francisco Cigarroa, MD, President of UTHSCSA, and Leonel Vela, MD, Dean, Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen. (4-19-07)

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Congratulations to Miguel Fernández, MD, Director of the South Texas Poison Center who received the Mayoral Proclamation for National Poison Prevention Week on March 13, 2007 at the Joint Meeting of the Central Texas Society of Health System Pharmacists and the Bexar County Pharmacy Association. (3-17-07)

 

 

 
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